The cook’s picnicking diary 1/3


If you have been checking Yamatomichi Instagram Stories, you may have noticed that our office in Kamakura serves delicious lunch every day as its canteen. Those lovely lunches is made by Kanade Sangawa, who wrote a series of articles on UL hiking titled “26-year-old UL beginner’s journal #1: My journey to become UL.” Kanade is praised here at Yamatomichi for her ability to prepare lunch for up to 30 people on a daily basis in a flexible and impromptu manner, but due to the pandemic, the “My journey to become UL” series was cut short….

Anyway, we would like her to show off her skills in art and writing as well as cooking in this new series. The title is “Picnicking…” What is picnicking? Find out below!

Also, in this episode she has a special guest, a guest that is very close to her heart.

Text/illustration: Kanade Sangawa
Photography: Hikaru Otake

Behind the idea of picnicking

Picnicking. It is a coined word that combines the words “picnic” and “hiking.” It all started with a conversation I had with Mita, the editor-in-chief of Yamatomichi Journals.

Mita said, “I used to make something like this.”

What he showed me was a few pages of a comic book titled “Picnicking Instructions” that he had written for a magazine called murmur Magazine. It was a few pages filled with Mr. Mita’s love and passion for picnicking. It described what picnicking is, how to enjoy it, and everything about it. What the heck! Sounds like fun!

murmur magazine issue:12 (2011)

Mita: When I went to Portland, Oregon, It was common to see signs that said “PICNICKING AREA.” I found it funny that in English, a picknick can be described as “picnicking,” just like “backpacking” or “bikepacking.” I decided to try and write a manga about my new concept. The manga was a sort of parody of my favorite book, “Count Mabel’s Backpacking Instructions.” The content was 100% my imagination.

Sangawa: I love the idea so much, that it makes me wonder why there hasn’t been such a thing. It sounds like nothing but fun.

Mita: Sangawa, you know a lot about food, why don’t you try your version of picnicking? I want you to take this baton and become the picnicking master of the centry.

And so my path to mastering picknicking begins.

Baby Picknickers

What is the definition of a picnic anyway? Is cooking and eating food on a hike a picnic? Is cherry blossom viewing a picnic too? First, I looked up the definition of a picnic.

A picnic is “a meal taken outdoors (al fresco) as part of an excursion, especially in scenic surroundings, such as a park, lakeside, or other place affording an interesting view” (Source: Wikipedia).

I see. It seems that the definition of a picnic is to prepare food in advance and bring it with you. Now, multiply this by hiking. And since this is a series in Yamatomichi Journals, we will include an element of ultralight hiking: using UL methodology to reduce packing weight, going to places where ordinary picnics cannot go, and having a picnic with delicious food and drinks. In other words, that’s picnicking ⁉︎ This is it! This is what we are going to do!

What is important is who, where, and what kind of time we want to share. The time you share will deepen your bond with that person.

Kanade Sangawa's Picnicking

For this first episode, I invited my father and mother. I remember that we had family picnics from time to time, but my father and mother always prepared the picnic, so this time I wanted to prepare a picnick for them.

My fondest memory of family picnics was on my ninth birthday. We made roast beef sandwiches and brought them to the now defunct Aburatsubo Marine Park. There was one sandwich that had three pieces of roast beef in it, and we had to play rock-paper-scissors for it. My father won but gave it to me anyway. I can still taste roast beef, feel the exciting atmosphere of the Marine Park, the picnic, and everything that happened that day. I hope my father and mother have a memorable time today.

I chose a location centered around my mother, who has bad knees. I chose O-ogusu mountain located on the western outskirts of Yokosuka City, a local hike my family is familiar with. This way we could drive most of the way. It was more of a walk than a hike, but that was okay. It’s not worth it if it’s not fun for everyone.

The weather was not so good, but it is probably more comfortable this way. We pick leaves from the camellia to make cups and look for good picnicking spots while viewing the flowers.

The leaf of a Farfugium japonicum can be folded like a cup by holding it by the stem t

Looking for a spot.

I found a nice open flat spot and started setting up. I spread out a homemade sheet and laid out sandwiches, drinks, and my portable speaker. My parents set up the hammock and a nice picnicking spot was completed!

Team work makes the dream work!

Posing just like “Lunch on the Grass” by Edouard Manet

Food time!

Today’s menu is a cumin sourdough bread sandwich. It is filled with fermented carrot rapé, ricotta cheese and prosciutto ham. Food is very important in my picnicking. My father is turning 60 this year and my mother is diabetic, so I tried to make a light and refreshing meal. It is my way of showing gratitude for my parents through food.

Sourdough Sandwich with Fermented Carrot Rapé, Ricotta Cheese and Prosciutto Ham

How its put together

1. Shread the carrots
2. Rub the carrots and salt and squeeze the juices out.
3. Collect juice and put in bag with carrots, add herbs, let sit for 2-3 days in room temp.
4. Add vinegar, salt and other spices and herbs to the bag
5. Toast bread, butter lightly, add other ingrdients
6. Wrap and serve.

4 servings
Fermented carrot and rappe 600g
240 g ricotta cheese
150 g cured ham
4 tablespoons butter (for spreading on bread)
8 slices of bread

If all else fails or you don’t feel putting in the effort, don’t stress. Just buy a sandwich.The important thing is to have fun!

For dessert, a simple and delicious homaemade energy bar, or ball in this case.

energy ball

How to make

1. Soak almonds in water
2. Soften dates in hot water
3. drain both from water
4. Put in a food processor and powderize
5. Roll in to balls

serving: 25 pieces
7 dates (seedless)
200g of almonds
Pinch of cocoa powder, cinnamon powder, hibiscus powder, or any other powder of your liking

Chilling with the loved ones

We ate and talked over some delicious sandwiches while playing a hour long playlist I prepared for the picnick.

Father Sangawa “I wasn’t sure if I could eat it because it seemed so big, but It’s so good I could eat it in one bite.”

Mother Sangawa “I can’t believe you baked the bread too. Amazing.”

I was very happy to receive compliments from my parents. I asked my father, Hajime Sangawa, an outdoor professional who works as an “outdoor life advisor,” for his favorite picnic equipment.

Sangawa “What’s your favorite piece of gear for picniking, Dad?”

Dad Sangawa “Hammock! You don’t need a chair or a ground sheet.”

Sangawa “How is that a picnic? You can’t have a picnick without a ground sheet, no? How about you mom?”

Mom Sangawa “I think that the meal is the center of a picnic, so a picnic basket.”

Sangawa “Indeed! I thought about that too, but I thought it wouldn’t be functional on a hike since I would have to carry it in my hands, so this time I’m using a backpack. I think I’ll make some kind of picnicking backpack. Oh! I love this song! Do you know it?”

Father Sangawa “I think it’s ‘Zazi of the Subway’.

Sangawa “Wrong. The correct answer was ‘My Uncle (the soundtrack to the Jacques Tati movie).’

It doesn’t get better than that, a nice family picnic. The 1 hour playlist felt very short, and we transformed this simple grass field in to a beautiful picnicic spot.

Picnicking gear

Tyvec sheet, foldable cups x3, bugspary, sanitizer, bluetooth speaker, first aid kit, water, tea, thermos x2, emergency blanket.

Since the purpose of the trip was a picnic, I didn’t bring too many things. However, I thought that warm drinks were essential for a relaxing time, so I brought an insulated water bottle, which was heavy. It was a mistake to follow the definition of a picnic, my objective here was to do “picknicking.” I’ll try to be more creative next time.

I was particular about the leisure sheet. A picnic leisure sheet in my mind is a sheet with checkered patterns. However, they are often made of wool or other heavy materials. So I decided to draw checkered pattern on a Tyvek sheet (waterproof and breathable non-woven fabric), A familiar piece of gear to UL hikers.

Keeping the sheets from flying away with my body.

My father did not like the color, saying that it was not restful at all and made him feel anxious. I think its a great pattern. Even if we were lost in the woods, we could sit around and wait for help on the bright colored picnic sheet.

This time, I took the MINI2 backpack. I feel the capacity was not quite right for the job. Next time I wanna take a smaller backpack. A clinch bag would be fine.

I thought I was make my base weight lighter with the Tyvek sheets, but the thermos bottles made things a little heavy. But it’s okay, because it was fun! Where and whom should I go picknicking with next time!

To be continued…